Daggerfall is a bitter disappointment. I have honestly intended only reviewing games that I have finished completely. Daggerfall is an exception. I downloaded every patch, tried every fix, went to earlier saves and redid quests, all to no avail. For me the game stalled after avenging Lysandus's killer. I have had reports from other players being stuck in exactly the same spot. Bethusda should have learnt from Arena's mistakes, but unfortunately Daggerfall repeats them, and then some more.
The storyline of Daggerfall is simple enough, a series of major storyline quests will be revealed to you regarding Lysandus's murder, solve them, free his soul, etc, etc. As far as main plot goes, it isn't a bad story. There are thousands of sub quests which Bethusda tries to make out as interesting day to day life experiences of a hero. Unfortunately they quickly become very repetitive, kill this monster, kill that ghost, find that ingredient. But to gain levels they have to udertaken. You quickly learn to reject certain quests over others. There are two main sorts of minor quests, ones that involve certain buildings in towns, and ones that involve a dungeon crawl. The dungeon crawls soon get rather repetitive, after twenty or so you will notice that random is not as random as one is led to believe. Most dungeons are simply a jigsaw of several different blocks put together randomly, therefore before long you become familiar with different passage setups and know what's ahead, and even have a fair idea where the quest target may lay. Only the major storyline quest dungeons have small parts that are aside from the jigsaw pieces, but even the quest dungeons are 90% jigsaw. I actually think that Arena's quest dungeons were far better designed and certainly had more more variety.
The town quests can be a little silly at times and reflect Daggerfall's lack of quality control. For example a lowly experienced me was given a quest to kill a tiger that was in a knight's guild. I got there and here was the tiger growling away in a room full top level knights who seemed helpless to do anything about it. It's a bit like hiring Bill Gates to be Tyson's bodyguard.I have even heard of players getting quests from Joe Blow to deliver goods to the same Joe Blow.
Graphically Daggerfall is only marginally better then Arena. The dungeons are better to look at, despite being less interesting. Town scenery is better, but still largely cosmetic.
Arena had the edge in sound affects, Daggerfall uses many of Arena's sounds but misses many others. I really missed the howling ice wolves of Arena. The music is fairly good however, and I must admit its a positive point.
Daggerfall's combat is virtually the same as Arena, that is live, rather than turn based, but turn based would not suit this dungeon crawl type game. Like Arena you also have the ability to cast spells, I tended to stick to combat for monster confrontations. Magic spells like levitate and breath water are absolutely necessary. Many weapons have magic abilities. Your magic ability increases the more you cast. The best way to increase is to go to small tomb and cast spell after spell until you manner is exhausted, rest the repeat.
To sum up Daggerfall is simply a poor clone of Arena. Daggerfall simply manages to magnify many of Arena's bad points , you have an even wider emptier meaningless world then Arena's. Arena at least had some villages, lakes and houses outside the city, Daggerfall does not even go that far. But the major reason why I am disappointed with Daggerfall is the bugs, unlike Arena's ' crash ' type bugs, Daggerfall's are gameplay/plot bugs that stop you from completing the game, unless you hit upon the right combination of patches.